ROME - The final volume of The Saint John's Bible was presented to Pope Francis on Friday by the Papal Foundation and Saint John's University.

Pope Francis received Letters and Revelation, the last completed volume of the St. Peter Apostles Edition of The Saint John's Bible, signed by Donald Jackson, the Bible's artistic director. The presentation happened at the Vatican during the annual meeting of the Papal Foundation.

Letters and Revelaton is two-feet tall and three-feet wide when open and weighs about 14 pounds and features illuminations of dramatic and influential passages.

Abbot John Klassen of Saint John's Abbey says Pope Francis saw the illumination portraying Jerusalem in the Bible and raised his hands in praise.

"Pope Francis lifted his hands with a smile on his face in a gesture of joy and appreciation. It was wonderful."

Saint John’s University President Michael Hemesath was a part of the group and said the trip will be one of the highlights of his life.

“It’s an incredible once in a lifetime opportunity to do this, I’m just so lucky to be in this role and group” Hemesath  says.

A group from Saint John’s University has presented the Saint John’s Bible to the Pope twice in the past, most recently six years ago to Pope Benedict. It was also presented to Pope John Paul.

The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the invention of the printing press.


Pope Francis receiving the final volume of The Saint John’s Bible at the Vatican on April 17. Pictured with Pope Francis (left to right) Abbot John Klassen, OSB, Saint John’s Abbey, Michael Hemesath, president of Saint John’s University, Donald Jackson, artistic director of The Saint John’s Bible, and Katharine and Dan Whalen. (Photo: L’Osservatore Romano)